The responses below are from 16 Cambridge City Council candidates, to a questionnaire circulated by the KSA to all 19 candidates in the summer of 2021. 

Burhan Azeem: “Superinclusinary near transit and major corridors are key steps. Furthermore, in a dense, walkable, and transit-connected city like Cambridge, I believe that all land-use policy is relevant for TOD. Solutions like the Affordable Housing Overlay and legalizing missing-middle housing citywide, combined with improvements in pedestrian and bike infrastructure, will make Cambridge a denser city where transit is more accessible.”

Dana Bullister: “We must encourage such alternative options as much as possible to mitigate traffic and promote safety. To this end, I have pledged to work alongside Cambridge Bike Safety to implement safer bicycle infrastructure in Cambridge and to ensure the successful implementation of the Cycling Safety Ordinance. I also believe Cambridge must accelerate bus service and prioritize bus infrastructure to accommodate its people. I support the expansion of Cambridge’s dedicated bus lane network so that public transit takes priority on most roads during peak traffic hours.”

Dennis Carlone, incumbent:Provide a greater city and corporate supplement to public transportation including private or an expanded regional mass transit connections including along the Grand Junction railroad right of way, humanize public ways discouraging 50% of through traffic (neither starting or ending in Cambridge) from using our street network as a cut-through and focusing on waking and bicycle use of locals, have corporations and institutions build more residential options in Cambridge for its students and employees. We have to continue working together on this for the rest of our lives.”

Robert Eckstut: “I want to spend an ungodly amount of money on infrastructure. I’m not sure how many of my contemporaries have lived overseas; I have. I want Cambridge to join other international developed cities that, frankly, are far superior with regard to all transportation issues. The underlying difference between Cambridge and successful transit cities is we, collectively, have chosen to abandon and under-fund public transportation. The good news is this is a fixable problem. The bad news is this won’t be fixed under our current governing body.” 

Tonia Hicks: “The efforts of Kendall Square companies to alleviate traffic congestion in Cambridge have been exemplary but there is more work to be done. I would also like to see Cambridge residents benefit from some of the programs implemented for the use of Kendall Square employees. For example, the EZ Ride Shuttle program provides free rides for employees of Cambridge-based companies—but the shuttles are generally underutilized, and service could be expanded to service more residents and more neighborhoods in the City.”

Alanna Mallon, incumbent (Vice-Mayor): “It is also critical that we move quickly to build out a protected bike network, and that we ensure the requirements and timelines of the Cycling Safety Ordinance are met. At the same time, we need to be responsive to the needs of the community and understand that this is an evolving conversation. Two years ago, I could not have imagined that the City would consider removing the median on North Mass Ave in some places, or that many residents and small business owners think that a road diet is necessary for that stretch of roadway. Today, we are actively considering that option, and the partnership of our business community is a huge reason why.”

Marc McGovern, incumbent: “We need to work with the state to improve public transportation. The T and the commuter rail are just too unpredictable. I would also like for the city and KSA to partner to help make the T less expensive, or even free. Boston worked with the MBTA and paid to make the 28 bus free. How do we do that?”

Joe McGuirk: “I applaud the advocacy of cyclists who are leaders in refitting our city to be safer and more green. However, as we transform our streets to safer, less congested ones, we must take into consideration all the stakeholders who share those streets. Ultimately, our goal is to have safer streets, reduce our carbon output, and reduce our traffic congestion, all while ensuring that we answer the needs of our residents and small businesses.”

Patricia Nolan, incumbent: “Traffic and congestion not only impacts quality of life,  it is a key indicator that we are not meeting our climate goals for emissions. The solution to both is to continue to build,  improve and incentivize our transportation infrastructure across the entire city. Even before I was a City Councilor  I was advocating to invest in bike and bus lanes that foster faster and efficient travel. WE subsidize roads – why not make transit free? “

Sumbul Siddiqui, incumbent (Mayor): “I have supported policies that subsidize MBTA and commuter rail fares for low income individuals, and continually advocate for a fare free bus pilot. Our ultimate goal should be elimination of fees, because the price of a train ride shouldn’t keep anyone from making it to school or work. To make buses more efficient, I also support the creation of separate bus lanes on major corridors to increase transit efficiency. This will create an incentive for commuters who currently get to work in single-rider vehicles to switch to more environmentally and traffic-friendly alternatives.” 

E. Denise Simmons, incumbent: “Cambridge is a geographically small city, and there is no reason that we cannot work – in collaboration with our partners on Beacon Hill – to not invest more in our public transportation, to make it more reliable, more economically appealing, and more convenient for people to use that for citywide travel. If we make it easier and more reliable for people to use public transportation, I truly believe more people will take advantage of that option. But we also do need to make it easier for people, particularly those in the lower and middle class, to be able to afford to live here, closer to their places of employment, as we know that many people working in Cambridge cannot afford to live here, and they’re driving in each day from outside the community, in communities with more affordable housing options.”

Theodora Skeadas: “C.A. Webb’s article in the OpEd in the Boston Globe, is correct: the future of commuting is on transit. As a City Councillor, I will utilize board meetings to advocate for larger overhauls of the MBTA system that in turn will positively impact the public transportation in Cambridge. I will lead the effort in Cambridge to strengthen the national transportation policy goals of Senator Markey and Rep. Pressley to reinforce a fare-free transit system.”

Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, incumbent: “Since being elected in 2019, I have pushed for more dedicated bus and bike lanes, increased sidewalk snow removal, and fare-free buses. As Chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, I introduced an updated Cycling Safety Ordinance that has become law and will create more than 20 miles of protected bike lanes in Cambridge, including on key corridors like Hampshire Street and Massachusetts Avenue where we have seen multiple cyclists deaths in the past few years. The ordinance will make it easier and safer to bike in Cambridge, which more than 80% of surveyed residents, and a majority in every age category, say they want, and it has already served as a model for other cities, including Washington, DC.”

Paul Toner: “We must engage other cities and towns in the region, our state legislative delegation, and organizations like the Massachusetts Area Planning Council to develop regional solutions to our housing and transportation infrastructure challenges.”

Nicola Williams: “I am committed to creating policies that encourage people to use sustainable modes of transit when possible. In order to encourage communal travel, the city of Cambridge must invest in infrastructure and services that will make this goal feasible. Raising revenue for investment in clean transportation solutions is an integral strategy to addressing this and bringing our transportation system such as the Red Line into the 21st century.”

Quinton Zondervan, incumbent: “The most sustainable solution is to reduce the number of cars on our streets, which will also support efforts to reduce our carbon emissions. In addition to traffic-calming measures, we need to push hard for fare-free transit on the state-level, and can establish a city-run electrified shuttle service between transit nodes in neighborhoods to help reduce traffic congestion.”